As many victims are now speaking out against the CREC’s cult of silence, some are beginning to make connections between the abuse of women and the theology of the CREC. That’s a good start, but many of these people do not have all the theological awareness to capitalize on it. Bless them, I hope they continue but I don’t think they can go deep enough.
I am not going to analyze the CREC’s gloss of Scripture to support their notorious view of patriarchy, as seen in the picture below
Rather, I am going to examine the shaky foundations upon which the theology is built. I spent a few weeks on Facebook asking whether Wilson was formally ordained. Formally, no. As best I can tell from his autobiography he found himself promoted from guitar player to preacher. I suppose there was some sort of common-law de facto ordination, but nothing by a formal and recognized church court.
That means Wilson–by most anybody’s understanding–is not really a clergyman. He’s laity. This has nothing to do with whether the CREC is a valid denomination or not. Even if it isn’t, later ministers of the CREC go through the motions of ordination prior to their ministerial career. It appears Wilson didn’t even do that.
But that’s not my critique today, however glaring and interesting it might be. Around two years ago Leithart came out with his “End of Protestantism” proposal. Unsurprisingly, most didn’t quite get what he was saying. He argued that Protestantism doesn’t have a future in the sense that it can not exist and yet remain parasitic upon deficient forms of Christianity. And he’s right–at least on that point. Dialectics and negation do not make for a healthy Christianity.
The problem is how Leithart tried to put it in practice. In order to heal the divisions of Christendom was everyone supposed to rally behind Leithart’s proposal? Geneva (or more likely, Westminster Philly), Rome, and Holy Russia simply scoffed. Leithart was proposing a lowest-common denomination with no one agreeing on the denominators.
Practically speaking, and I know this from numerous conversations, Leithart and the CREC condemn converts to Eastern Orthodoxy as “idolaters” and “heretics” all the while pleading for us to accept EO as fellow Christians. We can show how problematic this is with a number of questions:
- Would you call Fr John Meyendorff and Metropolitan Zizioulas heretics and idolaters?
- Assuming yes to (1), how can you promote their works?
- Given what you say about (2), how can you in good conscience promote Schmemann from the pulpit?
- Can you really act surprised after negating Reformed theology that some of your parishoniers take you up on it and “convert”?
Shucks, I even like the irascible Lossky.